Donald Trump & Birtherism: How to Argue with Birthers?
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 12, 2011
Lately, billionaire & bad-hair aficionado Donald Trump has been getting a lot of press by going around the talk show circuit and making references to the supposedly “questionable status” of President Obama’s U.S. citizenship. In case you didn’t know, there is a name for this particular brand of reality-denying conspiracy mongering: birtherism. (And, just for the record in case you didn’t know, President Obama is a natural born U.S. citizen )
And, yes, it seems that – for whatever reason – Donald Trump has jumped aboard the birther crazy train. I don’t know if this is for him to gain traction among the hardcore conservative base of the Republican party (a whopping 51% of whom believe President Obama wasn’t born in the United States!) before announcing a bid for the presidency or if it could all just be a publicity stunt in order to get Trump more face-time with the media (and therefore, more money). Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: the media has swallowed Trump’s line of codswallop hook, line, and sinker.
And there’s the rub, folks. By the mere fact that the media is giving all of this attention to Trump in the first place, in a sick sort of way it gives him (and, by extension, his nutty “birther” claims) a kind of validity. The best thing the media could do is to simply ignore this kind of nonsense; there should be no “fair & balanced” reporting on this issue, because those who continue to peddle this stupid conspiracy theory are dead, flat wrong. To steal a phrase from Christopher Hitchens, Trump and his birther buddies are not the kind of people that should be taken seriously at all; in fact, they’re the kind of people who should be spouting their lunacy out on the streets while they sell pencils from a tin cup!
So the best thing the media could do, if they were interested in covering real news stories instead of sensationalistic garbage, is to tell Trump to take a hike.
Now, if you are confronted by a birther and there is no way to avoid the conversation with them, how should you engage them? I have one piece of advice on this, and – thus far – it has never failed me. Tell them that in order for them to have a valid opinion on the issue of President Obama’s citizenship, they must first prove, using their own standards of evidence, their own status as a natural born U.S. citizen. In short, they must provide to you the following:
1. Their original birth certificate.
2. A newspaper clipping that highlights their birth.
3. Records proving that their mother was present in America at the time of birth.
4. Investigations from multiple fact-checking organizations that have held the documents with their own hands to verify that the documents from #1-3 exist and are authentic.
5. A press release by at least two officials within the state of birth, verifying that these records are on file.
After the birther has provided said evidence, which seems to sum up the current standard of evidence which they demand that President Obama provide, then tell them they can go on and spin their claims all they want.
Every time I have confronted a birther with this line of argumentation, the result is universally the same: they either ignore the challenge, get angry about you questioning their “patriotism”, or they scuttle away to hide under the nearest rock. And if they get offended and/or try to run away or change the subject, hit them with this one: “Why won’t you provide this evidence? What are you hiding?!!” (cue spooky music )
Try it sometime. You’ll find the results very revealing somewhat entertaining, too. Perhaps the next time Donald Trump is on television, the next media personality to interview him will have some real balls and ask him to put up or shut up.
This entry was posted on April 12, 2011 at 11:38 pm and is filed under conspiracy theories, media woo, politics. Tagged: barack obama, birth certificate, birther, certificate of live birth, citizen, citizenship, cognitive dissonance, conservative, conspiracy theory, Donald Trump, GOP, Hawaii, Hussein, illegitimate, Kenya, Manchurian candidate, Mike Castle, Obama, politics, president, Republican, Republican Party, socialism, Trump, United States. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.